Mobility and space, infrastructure planning and urban planning – in the past these were often different worlds. And too often they still are, according to spatial planner Remon Rooij.
Mobility has traditionally been the domain of civil engineers and traffic experts, while the city was that of urban planners. Often they were largely separate worlds. In the past, the city centre was the centre of everything. Now there is no single area that is more important than all the others. In Amsterdam, for example, the Zuidas district is clearly now the economic heart of the city, not the city centre.’ To get people to those places, infrastructure and mobility are required. At many transport nodes, national and regional accessibility is well regulated, but often this is not the case for local accessibility by walkers and cyclists, believes Rooij.
Many of the graduation projects that he has supervised were about the integration of stations and station areas into the city itself. Slow traffic and local spatial structures often play a crucial role. Noor Scheltema developed a method to evaluate the quality of cycle routes from residential areas to stations. She found a way to measure safety, directness, comfort and attractiveness. ‘You might think: surely these things have been considered,’ says Rooij. ‘But the problem is that no one is responsible for the whole package. The municipality is not in charge of the station, and the rail company has no control over the public areas and access routes. But integrating the nodes with the city must receive the necessary attention for the urban network to function properly.’